Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Saturday her government is raising its response level to the highest level – emergency – and closing schools for two weeks, as authorities rush to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak, which started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has left 41 people dead in China and sickened hundreds of others. Wuhan has been on lockdown, with public transportation shut down and flights and trains out of the city suspended.
The transportation bans now embrace 16 cities, affecting more than 50 million people, The Associated Press reports.
Despite the efforts, the virus has spread in China and cases have cropped up overseas. The U.S. confirmed a second case of coronavirus on Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 60 people in 22 states are being monitored for possible infection.
Authorities believe the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, moved into the human population from an infected animal at a market in Wuhan. Chinese health officials and the World Health Organization confirmed this week that the virus has been transmitted person-to-person, but it remains unclear how easy it is to contract from another infected individual.